Run Report #207 – 13th April 2019 by Stuart Beard – the man with the blue hair!

Standing in the middle of the start ‘crowd’ in Welland Park, I am as likely as most of you to claim that I’m ‘not a real runner’, using my solid frame and mediocre times as testimony. However, like many of you my current running journey is both fuelled by and anchored by the parkrun, and the people that I have met at the parkrun. For the past 18 months, I have been taking parkrun and running in general a little more seriously, and can see my friends doing the same. Naturally, pb’s have fallen along the way but interestingly, there has been a definite trend of parkrunners graduating from 5k to 10k, but then not stopping there, “if I can do 10k, maybe a half marathon” for some “if I can do a half marathon, I can do a marathon”.  Almost everyone has a marathon in them, given the right training and a heap of determination!

April is a key month for Half Marathons and Marathons. Last week I ran the Manchester Marathon with Leanne Shrive (her 1st), who started running at parkrun. This week Simon and Molly run their 1st and 2nd Half marathons they started running at parkrun. In 2 weeks Wiki, Paul and my running buddy Simon Poynton run London, guess how their running journey started…?

There will be many more of you taking the challenge of a parkrun 5k further, and that’s brilliant and good luck to you. For those who a weekly parkrun is quite enough of a challenge, thank you very much; I salute you too. Despite our protestations we are all runners in our own way!

Back to this week. After a very composed pre-run briefing from Heather, 375 runners enjoyed bright but cool conditions, obviously conducive to fast times as 66 of us recorded Pb’s, including Adam Barber our first finisher. We had 39 first timers and 38 wonderful volunteers. Our 207th parkrun was a great event, just like the previous 206

Stuart Beard (with blue hair)


Run Report #206 – 6th April 2019 by Jo Hemmings

parkrun Report – Event 206

parkrun number 206; what a lovely morning for a three-lap (!) run, jog or walk around Welland Park.  I was the 25-minute pacer this morning and loved every minute; it is such a joy to participate in parkrun as a runner and volunteer.  Well done and thank you to all 399 Market Harborough parkrunners and the 33 volunteers who made today’s run so enjoyable.

Through parkrun, my family and I have built lasting friendships and have spent our happiest times.  I now cannot imagine not turning-up to Welland Park at 9am on a rainy/sunny/windy/frosty/snowy Saturday morning!  I love participating in parkrun (be it running or volunteering) immensely, but it is running with my two young boys in their very-old-and-quite-tatty-with-a-dodgy-suspension-and-usually-a-flat(ish)-tyre double pushchair that I enjoy the most, and I would like to thank all of you runners, joggers, walkers and volunteers for making Market Harborough parkrun such a welcoming and inclusive event. It is a privilege to be able to run with my sons, and in my run report, I wanted to try to capture what parkrun means to me.

Thank you all (and a big thank you to the team at the Park Café for supplying us with copious amounts of coffee after the stresses of pushing two small boys three times around Welland Park in their pushchair!!)


Mummy?! Are we parkrunning today…?

Yes! Now where’s your left welly?

And please stop throwing the ball at the telly.

8:30!  Come on!  Coats on you two!

But Mummy?!  I need another poo…!

We’re out! Hooray! (a bit close to the wire)

Mummy?! Yes love?  We’ve got a flat tyre!

We made it, we’re here, my family and I,

I turn to the runner next to me, smile, say hi.

The weather’s perfect; neither too cold nor too muggy

And we’re raring to go with the double-buggy.

The atmosphere is friendly and it’s warm and it’s happy,

I relax (and then my youngest fills his nappy…)

We’re off! The heavy pushchair is hard to master

But I’m soon in my stride, ‘Faster Mummy! Faster!’

I pass smiling marshals and I revel in my luck

That we’re part of this parkrun, ‘MUMMY!!! DUCK!!’

I acknowledge the duck and shout an obligatory, ‘QUACK!’

As we glide past the Welland and start the loop back.

We hi-five Austin and give Grandad Jim a smile,

Are we nearly there yet??! No! We’ve only done a mile!

Kids! Wellies back on and please just have a rest

I’m trying to get my parkrun Double-Buggy Personal Best!

But the youngest’s bottom lip goes out and his brother starts to scream

Something about Roy’s café and a mini-milk ice-cream…

Lap three, I’m tired and my legs (and will!) are slowing,

But a lovely runner encourages me and it’s enough to keep me going.

I pant my way to the finish and am met with cheerful faces

Reminding me that parkrun is the friendliest of places,

An all-inclusive club, where it’s safe and free to have fun

And all you need to do is walk, jog or run.

Jo Hemmings


Run Report #205 – 30th March 2019 by Fleur Kellie


This was the first time I had ever been to a parkrun and it was a lovely warm sunny Saturday morning and Round Table (of which my dad is a member) had volunteered to help.  I was therefore also helping out!  I didn’t know what to expect having never been to a parkrun before.

As I arrived, there were plenty of volunteers and Round Tablers in high viz jackets, setting up and trying to understand their jobs, funnelling, token collecting etc..  Even at 8:30 there were some keen runners beginning to warm up before the run.

There was an attendance of around 400 people which really shows how great these events are for local communities. Some people were taking it very seriously, some were just there to have some fun and get some exercise.

When the run had started, it was a great feeling cheering the runners as they started off, the claps, the cheers, the smiles and the panting dogs were all part of it, and the run really showed to me people’s persistence and the ‘never giving up feeling’ inside all of us.  It was nice to get the occasional thank you from the runners – from those who could find the breath…!

As I said before I would encourage people to help out at a parkrun as they are a great way to meet new people or old friends, and the feeling of helping and cheering so many different people was very rewarding.  Each run needs 30-40 volunteers.

Round Table (with some help from 41 Club and Tangent) provided around 20 of those volunteers.

Market Harborough Round Table are a group of 25-40 year old men who meet up one night every 2 weeks to either have a laugh and do something fun or plan and help others in and around the town of Market Harborough.  In June we run 'It's a Knockout' at the Harborough Carnival.  In December, you'll also see our members manning the Santa sleigh, loved and cherished for years by the local community in Desborough and the customers of Sainsburys.
There are about 10 members already in Market Harborough Round Table from all walks of life.  Join us, get involved with your community & make lasting friendships.
Come along to one of our nights out to see what we are about.  Friends, Banter & the odd beer (or 2).
As long as you're a man older than 18 and younger than 45 – you can join.


Fleur Kellie (aged 12)


Run Report #202 – 9th March 2019 by Roger Pangbourne

Just a quick little Run Report for today – not even many stats!!


The day started early – a good pilot friend and I were due to fly from Leicester to Henstridge Airfield parkrun.  Last week was postponed due to low cloudbase and this morning at stupid o’clock we had to call it of again due to gusting winds (a decision that we were very happy about when we experienced these at Welland Park later in the day!)


So plan B was a ‘home’ trip to lovely Welland Park and a chance to catch up with friends all round, with of course one of the best breakfasts you’ll find at any parkrun.


A busy morning at the bowls pavilion as 50 (yes 50! – the second highest we’ve ever had) volunteers all queued up with Jo (RD in charge today) to announce their presence (loads of Duke of Edinburgh students, many of whom are near to completing their relevant awards – congrats).  A huge thank you to all the volunteers – after we only had one Marshal earlier in the week, we were bowled over by how many volunteers rallied to Jo’s cry for assistance.  Thank you all.


Jo gave a lovely briefing at the start, with everyone agreeing to a ‘deal’ with Jo to only overtake on the right, keep to the left and single file at all the narrowest parts and the bit I particularly liked:  If you start with a dog, we want you to finish with the dog (not hand it to some unsuspecting volunteer) and if you start with a child, it’s generally a good idea to finish with a child! J


A postponed parkrunner of the month medal award for Sylvia (great running recently Sylvia!) and we were off.

Sylvia protm

Due to my unexpected appearance at MH today, I wasn’t due to fill any other volunteer roles – no VI guiding or pacing, so I was ‘just’ parkrunning.  It’s a while since that happened and I was unsure whether I was just going to drift around casually or set off like a man possessed.  Well when I hear “3-2-1-parkrun!” something inside me clicks so I was off like a shot (well, and unfit, overweight shot) and settling into a pace that I knew wouldn’t last:

1stkm:  4:17 (too quick)

2ndkm: 4:26 (o.k. ish)

3rdkm: 4:25 (that surprised me)

4thkm:  4:38 (here we go!)

5thkm: 4:37 (could have pushed it a bit more, but good enough)


Later on parkrun time completed in 22:39 (not even a bingo number :( !)


On the way around I was able to observe our lovely parkrun and I couldn’t spot any ‘incidents’, so well done everyone and thank you for sticking to Jo’s ‘deal’.


One of our parkrun Ambassadors was visiting today (Mark), so after collecting my finish token I trot across the field to run the final lap with him – he’s on a good run of form at the moment, so I ‘encourage’ (if that’s the correct word?) him around the last 300m. Later on a time of 25:22 is confirmed – result! – an MH PB for him by 22 seconds and his quickest parkrun time since 2015 – well done Mark!


After scanning, I wander down the straight helping ensure all the other parkrunners who have finished are still keeping left to the left so as not to block anyone still running.  I decide to pick on someone else to ‘encourage’ their finish.  From 450m out, Allyson duly creates a 20 second gap from the position she was in – well done Allyson, there’s more in the tank!


As the winds blow in a shower-and-a-half, it’s time to start helping tidy up the kit ready for next week and soon I find myself sat outside the café having breakfast with Mark in the sunshine!  We pass the time contemplating how parkrun does amazing things for so many people, before stepping inside for some obligatory cake and check in with Jo and Clive who are finishing off today’s results.


So there we go.  Another little Run Report dashed off.  There are plenty of gaps in the volunteer roster for the Run Report Writer role – one of the few volunteer roles that can be done whilst also parkrunning the course.  If you have a story to share and would like to have a go for this role, just let us know and we’d love to hear from you in future.


For now, well done to all 387 parkrunners and 50 volunteers who all made today happen.  Congratulations to Mark and the other 60 of you who recorded PBs today – great stuff.  We welcomed 24 first timers, of whom 8 were completely new to parkrun.  We hope you return again and again and grow to love parkrun as we all do.


Have a great week everyone.



Roger Pangbourne


Run Report #200 – 23rd February 2019 by Catherine Jeffs

Run number 200

We’re all raring to go

Don’t start off too quickly

Don’t finish too slow


We listen intently

To the do’s, don’ts and please

Keep left unless overtaking

Dogs kept on short leads


The countdown to signal

We’ll soon start to run

It’s not cold or icy

We’re here to have fun!


We’re into our running

We’re off on our way

We’ll soon reach the finish

And get on with the day


But it’s not always easy

We don’t all fly round

One foot before the other

Keeps hitting the ground


Lap 1 now is over

Just 2 left to go

More runners go past us

We go with the flow


Lots now have finished

Today they have cake

But some still keep going

More steps left to take


And now it’s gone quiet

I feel all alone

Into the last lap

The last km home


But one thing about parkrun

You’re never alone

The marshals, the tail walkers,

They’ll see you get home


In a flash it is over

Just a jog in the park

It’s over till next week

It will all again start

The pacers, the timekeepers

The guides and the boss

Without them it won’t happen

We’d all be so lost


So thank you to everyone

Who helped us today

The 50 runs t-shirt –

Will soon come my way.


A few more to go yet

But I know I’ll be back

To Harborough or Corby

(my passport I’ll pack)


There’s nothing like parkrun

To kickstart your day

And we’ll all keep on running

Our own speeds, our own way



Run Report #198 – 9th February 2019 by Roger Pangbourne


I didn’t used to know anyone who was blind.

Or even anyone with any kind of what you would call a ‘visual impairment’.  But I still remember my first Run Director meeting when Brian (our original Event Director) raised the topic of ‘PROVE’ (parkrun; Running or Volunteering for Everyone) and whether anyone wanted to help investigate some training as a Visually Impaired (VI) Guide.

I’ve thought about it and I don’t really know why guiding a blind or visually impaired runner interested me, but it did.  Perhaps it was fascination.  Perhaps it was admiration.  Perhaps it was because I was used to pacing and this seemed something else new to try? It certainly wasn’t any thought that it could be such a rewarding activity.

Roll forward around 15 months and this weekend I was guiding for the 10th time.  In that time I’ve guided 4 different VI parkrunners, some completely blind and others with different visual impairments.  Three of these are now regulars at MH (Wiki, Vanessa and Jan) and the other was Haseeb, the blindfold ironman triathlon world record holder (thankfully he was coming back after an injury when we ran together as Haseeb is quiiiiick!).  2 of those 10 guiding experiences have been with First Timers (Haseeb and Jan) and I’ve hopefully had a hand in 4 PBs (Wiki x 2, Vanessa and Jan) – certainly more PBs than I’ve achieved on my own of late!!

Now pacing is rewarding and the thanks that those who finish just before or just after you is wonderful – all I’ve usually done is shouted at people (maybe not at them!) all the way around the course, but VI guiding is something else…

Guiding has delivered probably my most emotional parkrun experience:  I was guiding young Jan for her first parkrun experience.  Jan is in the ‘VW 65-69’ age category and following her instructions, we were fast-walking around the course.  It was our last lap and on the return from the Turnaround Trees I asked if she fancied a little jog.  We jogged for around 50 metres above the river stretch.  We returned to a walking pace before saying ‘hi’ to Austin again and Jan said to me:  “That’s the first time I’ve run … since school.”  !!!  Wow! It makes me well-up every time I tell the story.  We also jogged down the finish straight that day on our way to a time of 56:38.

Today should have been Jan’s 10th parkrun, but she had forgotten her barcode!  After a little period of illness Jan had once again given me the instruction to only walk, but this time we probably managed 6 or 7 jogs before finishing in 55:25.  A way off Jan’s current PB of 46:21, but she was delighted to still be quicker than her first outing – even if she won’t receive the run credit for today.  (#DFYB!)

Since our first VI guiding trials with blindfolded parkrunners, we have now welcomed 8 different VI runners and have a wonderful team of VI Guides.  Some have attended official training events (there’s an excellent ‘Sight Loss Awareness and Guide Running Workshop’ run by England Athletics) or we have trained many of our own local parkrunners.  Essentially once you have donned a blindfold yourself and run a few laps around Welland Park with a VI Guide, you are very well prepared to be a VI Guide yourself.  A number of our regular RDs are also trained VI guides so can answer any queries people may have and the VI Guide team is currently led by Jo Raine.

VI Guiding now, compared to my first time at MH is a wonderful thing.  Not only for all of the stuff I’ve mentioned above, but also because you wonderful parkrunners know only to overtake us on the right-hand side and it’s great when we hear a shout out of ‘passing on the right’ or something similar when you’re overtaking (we’re often too busy nattering to hear you coming otherwise!).  Market Harborough parkrun has truly embraced VI running and we thank all of you for helping make this happen.

My VI workshop was also attended by a blind runner called Netty.  She told us that she used to be casual runner and when she lost her sight, the biggest thing she missed was running.  So finding some people with whom she could run and act as VI Guides was life-changing for her.  I’d add it can not only be so rewarding for VI runners, but also for the VI Guides.

If you’re interested in joining our team of VI Guides, we’d love to hear from you – just pop us a note on Facebook, an email or come and chat to us at parkrun one day.

I now know several blind people and others who are visually impaired.  My life is warmer and fuller as a result.


Roger Pangbourne



Run Report #197 – 2nd February 2019 by Nicola Mirams

This run report threatened to be the shortest in parkrun history as icy weather meant a 7.30am course inspection had to take place, with the possibility of the parkrun being cancelled. Kudos to the core team who braved the cold conditions (it was 0C outside, with a ‘feels like’ temperature of -5C) to proudly declare that parkrun #197 was going ahead, in beautiful sunshine.

I headed to Welland Park early and spoke to some of the other volunteers for the first time. I am new to the area so I am slowly getting to know people. I chatted to Liz, who I had admired from afar for her cookie monster running leggings and festive trainers. She told me about an event she is taking place where participants get rewarded with chocolate depending on how far they run. Sounds like my kind of event! I also spoke to Alice – a friend of the family who I’d not seen for several years – and her guide.

I’d persuaded a friend to try the parkrun for the first time so we headed to the start line together for the usual announcements. Among the achievements this week was a gentleman volunteering for the 100th time (our very own RD - Kenny!!) – wow!!   In the first Harborough parkrun I’d run in January someone had come from Israel to take part – this time our most intrepid runner came from the wilds of Northampton!

We counted down to the start and it felt good to get moving and to start to defrost. Despite the weather and lures of a cup of tea in bed, 323 runners had turned up, with the marshals as usual providing great motivation and enthusiasm. A highlight of my lap is always a hi-five with Austin as you come back from along the river. As someone who is around the 30 minute mark, I inevitably get lapped by the faster runners.  I am giving it my all but they are something else - inspiring. During my lap two a man called Stewart ran past on his third lap – the lady in front and I encouraged him to find his second wind as he zoomed towards the finish.

I first encountered parkruns in 2013, when I ran the Braunstone parkrun three times. Six years later on the first Saturday in January I was sitting in the Commons car park just after 9am when I saw hundreds of runners – they just kept coming. I was cheering them on from the car. I knew it probably was the parkrun and then publicly said on the Facebook group I’d come the next week. I was nervous but I was so glad I did as I have been there every week since. It’s now become my priority on a Saturday. In that time I’ve gone from finishing 289th on 12 January 2019 to finishing 222nd on 2 February 2019, and I have cut my time down from 31:17 to 29:42. I’m unable to come next week and I’m already feeling sad about it.

My other target is to look happy in the parkrun photos. Currently the only parkrun photo is attached - I promise I was enjoying it more than I look! A fun fact is that in my first fun run for charity I dressed as a flamingo (it’s come out several times since then) - see second photo . Maybe it’ll grace a parkrun! Say hi if you see me.

I have also discovered that lots of Nicola’s do the Market Harborough parkrun. Having only encountered a couple in my life, there are often several on the results list and two on the core team!

The thing I love most about the parkrun aside from the friendly atmosphere is how good I feel after: on top of the world, with my mind and body nourished. What an amazing thing to have done before 9.30am on a Saturday. I don’t get this feeling running on my own so I relish every moment of it. I love reading so after the parkrun I always go to Market Harborough library, select my books for the week, and head home to read them alongside a cup of tea.


Nicola Mirams


Run Report #196 – 26th January 2019 by Patricia Morris

Another great parkrun, a little warmer with no rain, ideal running conditions.

We have a three lap course winding around the perimeter/edge of Welland Park with the River Welland flowing through it. The course is challenging as it is narrow with a lot of runners, 384 this week, especially challenging for the visually impaired runners and their guides.

What’s good about parkrun is it gets reluctant runners like myself to take part. There is always fantastic encouragement from the volunteers and other runners. You don’t need to worry about being left behind or coming last as you have the support of the tail walkers.

I first heard about parkrun from my daughter Beth who started parkrun at university. She got her dad to take part in the Harborough parkrun when she come home during the holidays. I stayed at home as I was never very good at running at school.

My parkrun journey started December 2015 when Beth signed me up for Christmas day. I said I would only do the one, 104 parkruns later and I’ve definitely got the parkrun bug! I also love to volunteer and have earned my 25 volunteering shirt. You can still take part in parkrun if you cannot run, like I did while recovering from knee surgery. I helped by marshaling until I was able to walk slowly round the course.

Today, I walked parkrun, still recovering, and I came 12th in my age category, there was probably only 12 in VW 55-59, if anyone would like to check!

I have made some great friends along the way and it’s great to catch up in the cafe after parkrun. parkrun isn’t just about running, it’s the social and community atmosphere that make it feel like a family.

Many thanks and appreciation to all 38 of the core team and volunteers who made Market Harborough parkrun #196 possible this week.

Patricia Morris


Run Report #195 – 19th January 2019 by Katie Carnell

Run report 19th January 2019

Firstly, I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who communicated messages of support to me on Saturday (I was the one doing her 50th with the big balloon)! It made my 50th parkrun experience very special!


The things that I would like to focus on for this run report are times and personal bests. When I first joined parkrun, I thought that the most important thing about it was getting my time down and being the best runner in the world.

Turns out, it’s not (I know, shocker, right?!). The most important thing about parkrun is the fact that you get up early (on a SATURDAY) and make an effort to run, walk, hop, skip or jump 5km (or 3.1 miles)! Even if you don’t manage to get to parkrun every week, you are still getting out more than those who have never done one.

Some people may focus massively on their time every week, but I have decided not to. This weekend marked one year since my last personal best, since then I have not managed to get anywhere near it. It used to really bother me that I couldn’t get close to it, but after injuries, illnesses and an unbelievably hot summer, it dawned on me recently that I have done really well to have not given up and to have reached my 50th parkrun.

So, wherever you are in your parkrun journey, whether you come every week or as and when you can, you are doing an amazing thing for yourself and you will reach your milestones regardless of how long it takes and what times you get.


Katie Carnell


Run Report #194 – 12th January 2019 by Leanne Shrive

‘I had the pleasure of pacing again at parkrun this week, I've paced on 13 different occasions now and each time I thoroughly enjoy it. I thought I could give a bit of a 'low down' for those that have never paced but would like an insight! People say to me all the time that they couldn't pace out of fear of doing it wrong, or being too fast/slow. *DISCLAIMER* None of us claim to be professional pacers, we are all just volunteering to say we will try our very best to be as 'on time' as we can be! There was 7 different times being paced this week: 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36 and 38 minutes.


Duties start at 8:30 and I learnt the hard way when I rocked up at 8:45 to a 'jovial' telling off from Paul (ooops!) just as he was about to start the briefing for those that hadn't paced before. Bibs and timing cards (kindly made by Roger that we actually wouldn't be able to pace accurately without), Paul explained that the idea is to run as consistently as possible, whilst reaching each 'check point' at the time on the card, all whilst encouraging those around you.


Huddling in the rain and cold at the start line we all took our positions ready for the 'go'. You can hear murmurings of 'what time is that pacer?', 'I'm going to try and stick with them' and 'I might chase them for a PB' (eeek pressure!!). Announcements made and we're all off, all 433 of us - that's a record number of people at our lovely parkrun by the way. Looking at the card, we're already behind. We're at 20 seconds and not even past the start line (some people don't realise how congested our start line is, so it really does help if you stand in the right time zone at the start) but I know the crowds spread out and we can claw this back, a few seconds at a time at each 'check point'.


There's 3 main check points on the cards; start corner, playground corner and turnaround tree's, as well as an average pace in kilometres or miles. Pacers aim to arrive at each checkpoint around 10ish seconds either side of the time on the card (although the closer the better!), keep a steady pace between checkpoints, be aware of anyone around them and keep talking to anyone who will listen. I check over my shoulder a lot whilst pacing, to make sure anyone hanging on is getting any encouragement they need, particularly on the last lap where we are all tiring. I thank the marshals on the last lap, reminding the runners it’s the last time we'll see that marshal or that landmark!


Coming down by the dog walk for the last time, I tell people around me that I am going to keep a constant pace till the end (you can't do a sprint finish as a pacer!) but that they should all aim to overtake me by the time they cross the line. The amount of people that say they having nothing left yet come flying past you on the last hundred meters is amazing! Crossed the line, (my watch says about 15 seconds too slow but that's ok because there was a flurry of people whizzing past us and I jumped out their way), and there's normally some beaming faces turning round to thank you, that's what makes pacing feel so rewarding. Someone might have achieved a PB, completed their first parkrun, they might have achieved a time they hadn't thought they'd reach again, or they might just be glad to have got round another parkrun. Whatever their reason for being there, I'm always pleased to have encouraged people round (I don't say helped them round, because it’s their legs that carried them round not mine!)


Lastly, I had to ask Roger from some stats because I thought you might be missing some. So, Well Done to the 433 runners who set us a new record amount of runners! There was representatives from 28 clubs, 37 first timers and 38 parkrunner's achieved PB's, all looked after by our 42 lovely volunteers. Oh and to the 21 'unknowns' on the results - next time, don't forget your barcode!’

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